Before the trip I was consumed with agitated preparation as it was my first backpacking experience and I did not want to forget a single item from my list. During the trip I remember being exhausted, hungry and most of all astonished at the natural splendor that surrounded me. My breath was taken away looking at wild flowers thriving on fallen timbers from wild fires of old. It was dizzying to look out from Hanson’s Point with a near 360 degree view, where I was convinced I was looking at a forested Grand Canyon. I remember the joy of leaving a day early due to one of our team members suffering an eye infection. I feel a little guilty about that, but to be frank I missed showers after a week of living in the woods.
I remember my whole experience and all I can say is I would do it again. If you ever have a chance to try backpacking, just do it. It will change your life. Your motivations simplify. You move from water source to water source, strategizing your camp location with its ease of access to that water. A warm meal in your stomach almost causes hallucinations of a choir singing Ave Maria after a long day of pushing up a mountain for a few humble miles. I don’t want to mislead you, on our hardest day we only hiked 6 miles. By no means was that the usual 20+ for those people hiking the Appalachian or Pacific Crest Trails. It was one of those moments where I was angry at being so out of shape! But I am actively doing something about that, this trip being one of those examples. Below are a few of the photos I took from several of our different campsites and of my very positive backpacking team from Wright State University’s Outdoor Recreation Center.
Location: Red River Gorge, Kentucky